Mi Sphere 360 panorama camera review


This 360 camera is a fun gadget. After a bit of research, this camera seemed to be the best one on the market in the $400 range (ebay). After spending about 2 weeks with it, my impressions are a mixed bag.

Sample photos:


Sample album with 360 photos: photos.app.goo.gl/U2zCT924A8HthdT8A

Tiny planet photos:



Good:

  1. Photos work nicely. I strongly recommend a selfie stick. Also it takes a bit of practice to be mindful of the scene that you are trying to photograph, as difference in distance can cause grave differences in relative sizes of objects. For example if posing for a group photo, try to get every face about the same distance away from the lens. Also for composition, ensure that your scene's significant features are directly in front of the front or back lens, avoiding the stitching area where the front and back photos are combined.

Bad:

  1. High resolution videos are a problem, kinda. I recorded several test clips in 4K, with a high speed U3 microSD card.  When you use the app to download the clips, they are deprecated to 1440 x 720 which make the clips look pretty bad. After a bit of research I found a clue: I have a shabby old phone that is not capable of 4K. So my hunch is that if you are using a flagship phone with 4K video recording capability, like the current Galaxy S9, then everything should work fine. This is a hardware capability issue.
  2. Videos are recorded as 2 side by side hemispheres spheres onto a HD frame. This does not play back nicely, and needs to be edited using the app to fill a screen properly, or to upload to youtube as 360. The issues are the layout and the metadata that causes correct playback, so what you can copy directly from the microSD card is not quite usable, and needs further processing. This is an early adopter issue, and I suspect will change over time.
  3. Currently there is no bluetooth remote control available for it that I could find. So you can either use the App as a remote trigger, with comprehensive shooting options and a view finder. Or you can use the shutter button on camera, but your hand be over represented in the picture so that's more for emergencies when your phone battery is dead.

Specs:

Body
Weight108.3g

Parameters
Model:QJTZ01FJ
Image processor: Ambarella A12
Image sensorSony IMX 206
Gyroscope: 3-axis gyroscope + 3-axis accelerometer
Accuracy: 16bit
Stabilization: EIS
Fast charge: Yes
Operating temperature: -10 ℃ to 45 ℃

Performance
Video modes: Normal video, Short video, Time-lapse video, Recording cycle
Styles: Panorama, Standard
Real-time streaming:1440 * 720 @ 30fps;
Video resolution:3456*1728 @ 30fps;2304*1152 @ 60fps;2304*1152 @ 30fps;
Photo resolution:6912*3456;3456*1728;
Video format:H.264
Photo format:jpeg

Battery
Capacity:1600mAH/3.8V
Battery life: From full power at room temperature, 75 minutes video with Wi-Fi on; 90 minutes video with Wi-Fi off
Charging interface: microUSB
Charging time: within 2 hours

Lens
FOV:2×190°
Lens components: 2 × (5 pieces spherical glass lens + 2 pieces aspheric glass lens + 2 pieces right angle glass prism)
Aperture: F2.0
Focal length: 1.43

Exposure control
ISO modes: Automatic; Manual: 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600

Storage and interface
Storage:microSD card (up to 128GB); use of a Class 10 card is recommend, as is a recommended U3 microSD cards for optimal video recording
Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4GHz, ≥50m range with no obstructions
Bluetooth: BT4.0; ≥30m range
Mounting: 1/4-inch universal tripod mounting interface
USB:MicroUSB2.0
Charging contacts: 2 contacts with waterproofing protection. Salt spray and short circuit protection tested

mi.com/us/mj-panorama-camera/specs

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